Black History Month teaches many lessons

Lucy Smith, Managing Editor

At its official inception in 1976, Black History month was meant to honor the “too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans,” according to Gerald Ford, the president who officially recognized Black History Month.

But throughout time, it has taken on an extra meaning – for many, Black History Month is a reminder that racism isn’t dead, and that oppression is still an everyday reality.

“People think that, OK, since black people aren’t in chains anymore we’re not oppressed,” said Aunton Terry, a student program advisor for the Intercultural Exchange.

“Nowadays, in (some) elementary schools, they’re not even teaching them about slavery anymore,” said Terry. Some schools even “teach students that slavery was necessary for the economy.”

People think that “since black people can vote and do the majority of the same thing(s) white people can do that… racism doesn’t exist,” he continued.

But that’s why we have a Black History Month said Terry, “to educate people.”

Even Terry himself said that when he was asked 10 questions about black history he only got three correct.

“I think it’s important for everyone. Oftentimes, black history is forgotten,” said Terry.

Madison College will commemorate Black History Month with a series of events sponsored by the Black Student Union, United Common Ground and the Intercultural Exchange.

The events kick off with a showing of “13th The Movie” on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 12:30 p.m. in the Mitby Theater.

The highlight of the schedule will be the presentation, “Black and Brilliant: Black Participation in the Political Process,” on Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Truax Room D1630B/C. A panel discussion featuring Joe Parisi, Everett Mitchell, Sabrina Madison, Harold Rayford, Mandela Barnes, Ali Muldrow and Mahlon Mitchell will begin at 12:30 p.m.

These events and others like them are important because it will help both students and staff “understand black history and why we have Black History Month,” said Keyiona Johnson the Vice-President of the Madison College Black Student Union.